Fremantle’s Righteous Spit: The Career of Billie Reid

Enter the world of Billie Reid ….. a musician who stands proud as a purveyor of righteousness in current times. His deeply poetic lyrics stand at the fore of his arson, brandishing words like a sword and hitting injustice square in the jaw”

Enter the world of Billie Reid, Fremantle, Australia’s resident singer songwriter out to get the bad guys and keep the good guys in check. Through his debut album Ticket Out Of Dizneyland and single “Demon Street” he’s fast making a name for himself as a musician you do not want to miss. Flunking tradition for a life on the road; campaigning against religion, science and politics; generally sticking it to the man. These themes run wild throughout the history of multiple, troubadour peddling genres. Some of the world’s greatest musicians have valiantly proclaimed war on society’s invisible boundaries. They’ve taken it upon themselves to preach a life of freedom in the face of the institutions that surround them on a daily basis. This ethos is pinnacle to some of the greatest movements in the history of music. It continues to live strong today.

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Billie Reid is a musician who stands proud as a purveyor of righteousness in current times. Based and working out of Fremantle, Australia, the singer songwriter’s artillery is a huge catalogue of music and a will to perform. His deeply poetic lyrics stand at the fore of his arson, brandishing words like a sword and hitting injustice square in the jaw. It’s no surprise he’s influenced by famous literary rebels like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. This is the wordy goodness of the beat movement put to music.

Reid began to climb up the ladder of success in Freo, Western Australia. Having travelled across his native country as a troubadour performer, he’s now settled in Fremantle and regularly collaborates with chanteuse Lily. Specifically, this duo teamed up to work on her Dreamer EP which consists of two tracks penned by Reid: “In Dreams With You” and “Love Song 612”. Also released on Billie Reid Music in February 2012, the partnership offers a unique insight into the flexibility of Reid’s trade. Unsurprisingly, Reid also draws influence from genres that are notorious for encapsulating a square determination to rebel against social norms.

Punk, alt-rock and Americana all come crashing down from his pedestal in a fuss of anger, girth, and the occasional nod to the fairer sex. Joining him on his stand is his trusty acoustic guitar. It works in collaboration with his trademark vocal – a furious, grizzled spit that emulates the late, great Joe Strummer from The Clash. A prolific wordsmith at heart, Reid has already produced two records: Ticket Out Of Dizneyland and stand alone single “Demon Street”. Both were released as a double whammy in February 2012 through Billie Reid Music, and both have been met with high praise from critics local to Reid. Ranging one to three minutes long, the tracks contained within Ticket Out Of Dizneyland typically display an aptitude for punk music, clawing in the listener and bellowing a rock infused morality in their ear.

Standout tracks on the album include “Honey Skin”, the opening lament to lost love, and “About You”, a whisky drenched swill to round things off towards the end of the record. Although Ticket Out Of Dizneyland has been compared to The Buzzcocks, The Flaming Groovies and Elvis Costello, it holds the undeniable hallmark of a unique musician fighting his own fight. In comparison, the “Demon Street” single is a well executed howl of desperation, aimed in the direction of an unobtainable woman. Despite being, on the face of it, a love song, Reid uses the track to open up about the social and personal constrictions he feels. Punk doesn’t need to be soulless, after all. -And neither do Facebook messages. Through a series of sometimes controversial updates, Reid has made a name for himself as a musician who’s not afraid to speak his mind on and off the page. Queue copyright accusations a-plenty and the odd jab at current affairs: “Powderfinger [a fellow Australian singer songwriter] song just on [local radio station] JJJ is such an absolute clone of The Cars’ “Who’se Gonna Drive You Home” that I thought they’d gone to their “like a version” segment, but then Bernard Fanning [the project’s lead] claimed it as a total original. Sickening really, the song is literally plagiarism, not just direct lyrical rip-off, even the riffs are blatant copies of The Cars song from 1980s. Even the actual arrangement of the tune and phrasing of the words is the same. How rude, AARGGH!” There’s even time for some self-preservation: “Jose Gonzales definitely heard my [song] “Down the Line”, his words are different, but the title and the feel and substructure of his [song] are the same.”

From structural similarities to local radio stations and gun owners, through to songwriter extraordinaire and recording maverick, whatever Reid’s metaphorical gun is pointed at, it’s clear that he’s one passionate and determined guy. That much is very clear.

by Tiffany Daniels